"Casey doesn't get a lot of chances to touch the ball, but when he does, something good usually happens," Bruce Nichols said. "It's kind of neat to see former area players do well, and there are a lot of them out there."
He's right, and at his urging, here is a brief update on some of them:
* Brandon Smith, Western Kentucky.
The junior outside linebacker from Lincoln County got his first tackles for loss this season in last week's win at Eastern Kentucky.
Smith, who transferred from Missouri to Western last year, led the Hilltoppers in quarterback sacks with nine in 2003, but he didn't have a sack this year until he got 1 1/2 at Eastern. He also had another tackle for a loss. He now ranks fourth in the Gateway Conference in quarterback sacks.
The tackles almost came with a high price as Smith thought he might have torn a knee ligament in the win. However, tests this week revealed he only had a bruised knee.
* Ben White, J.R. Dean and Jeremy Vaught, Cumberland.
White, a junior linebacker, has 20 tackles, third on the team, including 2.5 for loss and one fumble recovery that set up Cumberland's first score in a win over Campbellsville. Vaught, a junior receiver, has five catches for 64 yards, including Cumberland's only touchdown reception, and four special teams tackles. Dean is a backup offensive lineman and has played in all three games.
* Justin Nichols and Brian Hodge, Morehead.
Nichols and Hodge, a Garrard County product, both have nine tackles as part of Morehead's defensive line rotation.
"The defense has had plenty of plays as the offense comes along," Bruce Nichols said.
* Mark Dunn, Eastern.
The freshman running back from Harrodsburg has made an early impression on coach Danny Hope and he also scored a touchdown in his collegiate debut.
"The first time he touched the ball in practice, our defense could not get a hand on him," Hope said. "He's a big, strong guy with good speed. He's a guy that is helping us compete right now and will even more in the future."
* Stephen Grubbs and Adam Schott, Georgetown.
The two former Danville players have helped Georgetown to a 3-0 start and tie for first place in the Mid-South Conference.
Grubbs, a senior linebacker, has 12 tackles, including three for losses of 18 yards and one quarterback sack. Schott, a redshirt freshman quarterback, has played in two games and is 3-for-4 passing for 66 yards and his first collegiate touchdown.
* Matt Quinn and Josh Jaggers, Campbellsville.
Quinn, a junior linebacker from Boyle County, has returned to the starting lineup after missing last year and has 18 tackles to rank third on the team. He has four tackles for loss and one quarterback sack. Jaggers, a senior, is the starting center.
"I just think a lot of people enjoy knowing how the players from our area are doing," Bruce Nichols said. "You watch these kids all through high school, and then it's not as easy to see how they are doing. I admire all of them for just being able to go on to college and play because the competition at every level is so much better than what most people realize."